WASHINGTON — The Atlantic has published an 8,000-word opus on how the coronavirus pandemic has defeated America — more than other modern nations.
And when it comes to our politics beat, two sets of poll numbers help tell this story.
One, just 31 percent of all Americans say they trust what President Trump has said about the coronavirus, according to our weekly NBC News|SurveyMonkey tracking poll. (That includes only 2 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of independents, but 69 percent of Republicans.)
Two, a majority of Republicans — 53 percent — say they do not trust Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on the coronavirus. (By comparison, just 9 percent of Democrats, 24 percent of independents and 29 percent of all Americans say they don’t trust Fauci.)
It’s unsustainable for a democracy — and a world superpower — for a majority of citizens not to trust their president on the deadliest virus to hit the country in 100 years.
And it’s equally unsustainable for a majority of one political party not to trust the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
Data Download: The numbers you need to know today
4,729,248: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 45,688 more cases than yesterday morning.)
156,754: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 617 more than yesterday morning.)
57.54 million: The number of coronavirus TESTS that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.
More than a billion: The number of children worldwide affected by school closures last month, according to the U.N.
10,000: The number of daily cases that Dr. Fauci says the U.S. must get the virus down to before the fall.
More than 100: The number of executives who signed on to a letter to Congress warning of ‘catastrophic’ consequences for small business if more relief is not passed soon
60: The number of days before Election Day that North Carolina begins to mail out absentee ballots to voters who have requested them.
Tweet of the day
BREAKING: Census Bureau confirms all #2020Census counting efforts will be cut a month short, risking a severe undercount of people of color. Collecting responses online, over the phone & by mail, plus door knocking at unresponsive homes, to end on Sept. 30https://t.co/6XCz5Wg6EE
— Hansi Lo Wang (@hansilowang) August 4, 2020
2020 Vision: Previewing today’s primaries
Five states — Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington — are holding downballot primaries today, and these are the top races we’re watching:
Kansas Senate: One of the most pivotal primaries left on the calendar, Republicans fear that if polarizing candidate Kris Kobach wins the GOP primary, they risk losing this open seat in November to Barbara Bollier, the likely Democratic nominee who is a state senator and former Republican who would be the first Democrat to represent Kansas in the Senate since the 1930s. The polarizing Kobach just lost the gubernatorial race in 2018 to Democrat Laura Kelly.
Kansas 02: Many Republicans have sounded the alarm on Republican Rep. Steve Watkins for months, actively encouraging the primary playing out tomorrow. Watkins was charged with voter fraud last month, but calls the charge politically motivated —he has a serious primary challenger in state Treasurer Jake LaTurner. LaTurner scuttled his Senate bid to run for this seat after the former governor urged him to primary Watkins, well before the charges were filed.
Michigan 13: Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a member of the progressive “Squad” faces a rematch against Brenda Jones, the Detroit City Council President who briefly held the seat in 2018 after beating Tlaib in a special election to fill the seat (Tlaib, oddly, won the primary for full two year term starting in 2019 on the same ballot). Tlaib has declined to back Joe Biden, and Jones has the backing of the other candidates who ran in 2018.
Missouri 01: One of the biggest progressive/establishment Democrat clashes left on the calendar, registered nurse Cori Bush is trying to knock off Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo. Clay beat Bush last time, but Bush is running a better campaign and has the backing of Bernie Sanders.
Arizona 06: Republican Rep. David Schweikert has been dogged by allegations he violated campaign finance for years, but Democrats haven’t been able to capitalize on them to defeat him. But those attacks might stick better now that Schweikert admitted to “11 counts of violating House rules, the Code of Ethics for Government Service as well as federal laws pertaining to campaign finance violations and reporting errors by his campaign committees” after a House Ethics investigation. The Democratic candidates vying to replace him include Hiral Tipirneni, the well-funded doctor who ran and lost in the 2018 special election to replace Trent Franks.
Ad watch from Ben Kamisar
Today’s Ad Watch puts a spotlight on the Kansas GOP Senate primary, where we’ll see whether what appears to be a Democratic-linked meddling campaign can help Kris Kobach over the hump.
Many establishment Republicans fear that if Kobach is re-elected, the party can lose the seat like they lost the gubernatorial contest when he was their nominee in 2018. But despite their efforts to boost Rep. Roger Marshall in the primary, a group linked to Democrats has spent more than $4.6 million to boost Kobach and cut Marshall down. That’s more than any other group in the race, according to ad-spending data from Advertising Analytics.
Plains PAC, a GOP super PAC that’s been trying to stop Kobach, has spent about $3.3 million, while the Senate Leadership Fund, backing Marshall, has spent about $1.9 million.
As for the candidates, Marshall has spent $1.4 million to Kobach’s $250,000. But businessman Bob Hamilton has spent more than both of them combined — $2.6 million — both touting his outsider message but also at times attacking Marshall.
Stalemate on the Hill
NBC News’ Capitol Hill team reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her conference last night that the earliest the House would vote on any coronavirus relief deal would be next week. (And that would mean a full week without the weekly federal insurance benefit that expired on July 31).
Democrats are still insisting that the unemployment benefit should be $600 per week, and Republicans are floating different ideas to increase the $200 benefit in their legislation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., proposed a 100 percent wage replacement, which is more generous than the 70 percent noted in their bill – but Democrats haven’t budged.
As far as why Democrats haven’t dealt with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and instead have worked with other Republican senators and the White House, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said it doesn’t make sense to have McConnell in the room yet.
“McConnell has just made a pragmatic decision that since it requires a presidential signature – then until the president is in a place where he’s comfortable that it does not really make sense for him to get in the middle of that,” Cornyn said.
The Lid: Voters are voting!
Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we previewed today’s primaries.
ICYMI: What else is happening in the world
Possible VP pick Karen Bass is trying to reassure voters that she is “not a communist” after a series of stories about her youthful flirtation with Castro’s Cuba.
Many educators spent Monday protesting systemic racism and a lack of clarity around school reopenings during a “National Day of Resistance.”
Trump has fired the head of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Trump says that the U.S. Treasury should collect some of the funds from the potential sale of TikTok, but it’s unclear what authority the White House has to make such a demand.
And the president is pledging a lawsuit over Nevada’s automatic mail balloting.
The Washington Post looks at how Dr. Deborah Birx drew Trump’s ire after months of being on his good side.
The saga over a New York House primary more than a month ago is far from over.
Mail delays in Michigan are complicating the state’s primary today.
Chad Wolf has become the president’s favorite DHS head.